High Blood Pressure: Silent but Deadly
Hypertension is a very common disorder, affecting approximately 50 million Americans. The number of hypertensive Americans tends to increase significantly after the age of 70. No society or ethnic group is immune from hypertension. Hypertension is most common in blacks, affecting about one out of three, followed by whites and Mexican Americans. Hypertension is also more common in men than women in every ethnic group up to age of 50. Hypertension is also more common in obese individuals, in diabetics and in those with a familial history of high blood pressure High blood pressure is a silent disease and many individuals have no idea that they even have it. But being silent does not mean that the disorder is harmless. In fact, untreated blood pressure is associated with complications that are irreversible and can be fatal. Among the risks of untreated high blood pressure are a heart attack, loss of the kidneys, blindness, stroke and even death. Unfortunately because high blood pressure has no symptoms during the initial phase of the disease, most people do not even now if they have it. The disorder is so common that by the age of 65-75, most individuals will develop it. The reason for this is that the blood vessels harden and lose their elasticity with age, and thus, the blood pressure increases. The only good thing about high blood pressure is that it is easily treated with medications – which is a life long process. There are two types of blood pressure: systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure (a larger number in a blood pressure reading) is the number on top. Diastolic blood pressure (usually smaller reading) is the number on the bottom.
Signs and symptoms
Unfortunately, the symptoms of high blood pressure are practically impossible to detect in the initial phase the disorder. Even individuals with extremely high blood pressure may not have any complaints. The few individuals who do develop high blood pressure symptoms may complain of – headaches – general malaise – visual blurring – frequent nose bleeds – dizziness
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